On a weekly basis, millions of people from the tri-state area listen to Philadelphia radio personality Tiffany Bacon on WRNB/100.3FM & WPPZ/Praise Philly 103.9FM (Radio One owned stations). But what many people don’t know is that Bacon is more than just a radio celebrity. Bacon is a proud Christian who is redefining the role of a modern day renaissance woman - she’s a scholar, stage actress, youth sexual health advocate and producer of a weekly performing arts showcase!
Bacon, a North Philly native, grew up in a working class home; her mother retired as a city administrative manager and her step-father worked for the U.S. Postal Service. Bacon was a brilliant young scholar, she graduated with honors from Friends Select School, one of the top private schools in the state. After graduating from Friends, Bacon matriculated and graduated from Temple University as a Radio/Television Broadcast major. While attending Temple University, Bacon worked at the school’s public radio station.
“I started in radio at WRTI, formerly Jazz FM/Temple University, in public radio, in 1990,” said Bacon who also worked production at Fox News.
As a radio personality at WRTI, Bacon excelled in popularity and parlayed that opportunity to work in promotions at B-101 FM as the station’s mascot.
“I wore the Bee costume just to break into professional radio,” said Bacon.
Always the go-getter with a plan, Bacon excelled in promotions and was eventually given an opportunity to work as an on-air personality. Philadelphia’s adult contemporary listeners embraced this new voice in the marketplace immediately.
“I positioned and petitioned myself for that position, so I was on air at B-101, working at Fox News, and on air at Temple at WRTI, simultaneously,” said Bacon.
She admits that this grinding scheduling became a little overwhelming. Her break would soon come.
In 1997, Bacon’s broadcasting career took another upward jump, as she was invited to apply for a position at Power 99FM, Philadelphia’s top hip-hop/urban contemporary station.
“Helen Little [WUSL Power 99FM’s operations manager) was looking for new talent, and she suggested that I apply. I said, ‘I work for B-101, people think I’m white, I don’t know how I’m going to fit in at Power 99.’ But I loved Power, so I would be a fool not to apply for the position, and I did.”
And Bacon’s career has jettisoned from there.
Bacon quickly became the beloved young, smart, hip-hop voice of Philly’s urban landscape, America’s fifth largest broadcast market. Bacon worked during an era when Power 99FM was the urban radio juggernaut in the tri-state area. Bacon joined the station when it had the legendary duo of “Carter and Sanborn in the Morning” – Brian Carter and David Sanborn were ratings giant killers during morning drive, helping to buttress Power 99FM (a Clear Channel radio station) as ratings king of hip-hop/urban contemporary radio in Philadelphia. Bacon credits her success in broadcasting to one of her radio mentors, Brian Carter, who died in April.
“He was a consummate professional,” said Bacon.
Many would have been satisfied with enjoying the fame as a local celebrity within their own hometown, but not Bacon. As a Christian, the fame and celebrity status was never the goal for her, Bacon was motivated by the creative aspect of radio — the writing, the production work, the creative on-air performance, these things appealed to her.
After a successful eleven year on-air run at Power 99FM, in 2008, Bacon made another career leap to join Philly’s new upstart hip-hop radio station 100.3/The Beat. Her R&B show, “Cooking with Bacon.” can be heard Sundays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Always motivated and never complacent, Bacon has expanded her broadcasting career to express her religious persona. She is the host and co-host of: “Praise in the City” on Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. and “Marriage Beyond the Vows” on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., respectively, on Praise Philly/103.9FM. Bacon is a longstanding member of Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church where the Rev. Dr. Alyn Waller is senior pastor.
Baconalso works as a certified HIV/AIDS educator, for the Philadelphia SIHLE Project (Sisters Informing Healing Living & Empowering). SIHLE is a program funded by the Center for Disease Control, via Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC). According to Bacon, “SIHLE provides monthly healthy lifestyles workshops designed to reduce HIV sexual risk behaviors in teen girls.” It also promotes healthy relationships and gender and ethnic pride among African-American girls between the ages of 14 and 18.
Bacon parlayed her radio career to pursue an acting career in stage productions. “Recently, I was in the play ‘The Repast’ written by Bryana Michelle, ”she said. “We had an awesome time, the cast was amazing.”
Bacon will also star in the upcoming stage play “Girl He Loves Me” on Oct. 14 at the Adrienne Theater, 2030 Samson St.
Bacon’s favorite actor is Meryl Streep.
“She owns every character she’s ever played,” said Bacon.
Every Tuesday, Bacon helps promote other performing artists (i.e., poets, dancers, singers, musicians) during, “The Resurgence.”
“It’s family friendly entertainment,” said Bacon, who describes it as, “Harlem Renaissance meets the Philly Soul Movement.”
“The Resurgence” is held every Tuesday at Sole II Soul, 6139 Ridge Ave.
Veteran broadcaster Dave Sanborn (born Bill Simpson) recently reflected on his on-air partnership and off-air friendship with former Power 99 and WDAS FM morning personality Brian Carter, who died suddenly of a massive heart attack on Sunday, April 22, less that 12 hours after completing his Saturday, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. shift on WBLS in New York. Carter, a father of three, was 56.
The duo hosted the popular radio show “Carter and Sanborn in the Morning,” which aired on Power 99 FM from 1987 to 1999 and on WDAS FM in 2006.
“I’m hanging in there. It was a really, really tough day (Sunday),” Sanborn said from the Clear Channel headquarters in Bala Cynwyd. “I had a little bit more in me to get through this morning, but (Sunday) was really, really hard.”
For 12 frenetic, fun-filled years, Carter and Sanborn captivated morning drive-time audiences with popular “bits” such as the jubilant Friday check-in, set to James Brown’s “It’s a New Day” and “Horace the Taurus,” with Sanborn often playing “straight man” to Carter’s on-air antics.
“It’s kind of funny, because Loraine [Ballard Morrill] had mentioned that Brian was kind of the anchor of the team, and I did all the character voices - Horace the Taurus and all those,” Sanborn explained. “So little did anybody know that I was yuckin’ it up too! The two of us just liked to entertain each other, and it just so happened that the audience was entertained as well.
“That was just us. When we first met, we hit it off like that, and Power 99 hired us right on the spot. When they put us together, we were not only good with our radio chemistry, but as friends, we liked to hang out with each other. We enjoyed each other’s company. We didn’t just hang out because we had to work together, we were in touch with other more than we were with our wives, probably.”
“He was true radio professional,” said WDAS FM midday diva Patty Jackson, now celebrating 30 years in radio. “He loved radio, he loved the music - I mean, he knew his music! He could talk to you about radio for hours, and when he and Sanborn rode the airwaves in the ’90s, it was unprecedented, because now you see how radio is today with syndication taking over. But it was unprecedented that these local guys were able to make the impact that they did.”
“Carter and Sanborn are the reason Power 99 is the station it is today,” said Ken Johnson, Director of Urban Programming for Clear Channel Media & Entertainment. “They inspired me to recapture the presence in the community Power had when they were on the air. Brian was also an inspiration to me personally. He will be missed.”
Ballard Morrill, director of News and Community Affairs and news anchor for the show when it aired on Power 99 says, “Brian Carter was an icon in radio with a love for the business and giving back to the community. This is not only a loss for his family and friends — it’s a loss for broadcasting.”
“My fondest general memory is how much I laughed with him. Laughter was very much a part of our lives, and we shared plenty of tears as well through our trials and tribulations, both personally and professionally,” said Sanborn, who has been pursuing a career as a holistic health practitioner since stepping away from the microphone. “But we were always there to uplift each other, and I couldn’t have asked for a better partner.”
Sanborn states that a private funeral will be held for Carter in Baltimore, and that a public memorial service, to take place in Philadelphia, is being planned. “We don’t know quite when that’s happening,” he said. “We’re in the process of ironing that down, and then we’ll let the public know for sure.”